The first round of Manitoba’s Conservation Trust projects for 2020 have been awarded to 19 different conservation organizations, Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen announced. More than $1.8 million in Conservation Trust funds will contribute to 23 projects throughout the province, with matching funds of nearly $5.4 million, the total investment in these project is more than $7 million.
“The projects announced today provide support to Manitoba-based conservation work that conserves and enhances Manitoba’s natural infrastructure,” said Pedersen. “The conservation work being done throughout the province is building a legacy of work that will benefit all Manitobans and ensure Manitoba remains Canada’s cleanest, greenest, most climate-resilient province.”
The Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan called for the establishment of a trust to provide long-term and stable support to conservation efforts throughout the province. The Conservation Trust was established in 2018 with a $102 million contribution to The Winnipeg Foundation that established an endowment fund to generate annual revenues for conservation projects in perpetuity. Two additional Trusts, the GROW Trust and the Wetlands GROW Trust, have also been created, bringing Manitoba’s total investment in these trusts to $204 million.
Activities funded by the Conservation Trust include conserving biodiversity, mitigating floods and droughts, supporting climate-change mitigation through carbon sequestration, improving soil health, preserving waterways, and decreasing soil erosion.
“Investing in projects that preserve our environment cannot wait as they play a vital role in combating climate change,” Pedersen noted. “Due to the innovative approach and the permanent endowment we have created, the Conservation Trust’s revenues ensure we are able to invest in worthy projects year after year, no matter the financial pressures Manitoba faces.”
The first round of Conservation Trust Funding for 2020 include:
- Inter-Mountain Watershed District’s Streambank Stabilization Project on Turtle River ($147,500) – The community-based watershed district is working to reduce soil erosion and restore riparian habitats along the Turtle River as outlined in the Dauphin Lake Integrated Watershed Management Plan.
- Fort Whyte Alive’s Open Spaces Enhancement Project ($40,000) – Fort Whyte Alive provides opportunities for Manitobans to connect with nature and understand the importance of the environment to everyone’s well-being. This investment will be used by Fort Whyte to help Manitobans connect to the natural world through the enhancement of the open spaces surrounding its Interpretive Centre.
- Opasquia Trails Incorporated’s Grace Lake Boardwalk and Boreal Forest Trail ($50,000) – East of The Pas, the project at Grace Lake will see a boardwalk added to a land-based trail through an old growth boreal forest. The project will connect visitors with the natural environment in order to enhance education, life skills, culture, arts, recreation and tourism to this area of northern Manitoba.
- Delta Waterfowl’s Conservation and Enhancement of Wetlands in Manitoba Project ($75,000) – Delta Waterfowl is working to conserve biodiversity through enhancing waterfowl breeding habitats and nesting structures throughout Manitoba.
- Association of Manitoba Community Pastures’ Grassland Study and Biodiversity Enhancement Project ($250,000) – This Manitoba-based group is working with producers to address the dangers posed to Manitoba grasslands, while preserving the integrity of community pastures that support a variety of habitats. The project will engage wildlife biologists to work towards native prairie and rangeland enhancement.
- Three projects of Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association ($231,333 total) – This farmer-led group will help farmers to adopt practices that restore wildlife habitat and enhance carbon sequestration, soil health and water management.
The Conservation Trust is permanently endowed to support and inspire conservation projects for generations, Pedersen said, adding the fund is expected to generate on average $5 million a year, which will be invested into conservation efforts throughout Manitoba every year. It is managed by The Winnipeg Foundation, with projects approved, tracked and evaluated by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.
“We are pleased to be part of a permanent funding initiative that will support long-term support for conservation and adaptation to climate change in rural Manitoba,” said Tim Sopuck, chief executive officer, Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation. “This approach has been very well received by the conservation community in Manitoba and beyond.”
A second round of Conservation Trust and GROW Trust grants focused on watershed projects will be announced in the coming months.